Navel Gazing.

I fell off my horse. I cantered up to a hurdle that was way beyond my reach and I took a tumble.

What you have before you now is a woman half way back on the horse, hanging on to the pommel, belly down, trying with all her might to get that left leg up and over but her pelvic floor muscles aren’t what they used to be, and all in all it’s not a pretty picture, and I may have just taken this metaphor too far. Shall we start over?

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I’m grand. Totally fine. Not sick, or hurt, or depressed, not even busy. To be honest with you, I don’t know what’s happened to me. I may be eating too much sauerkraut, maybe all that butyrate has gone to my head – who knows- but I can’t write anymore. Not a thing. I couldn’t even come up with clues for the Easter egg hunt. Total block.

I just read back over my East of Eden review, one of the few posts I’m proud of, to convince myself that there was something worth hanging on to here, and of course it’s not as good as I’d like it to be but still, if I could come up with something like that now, I’d be ecstatic.

Nope. Niente. Not a chance.

Hardly anyone even read that post but the stats have never, hardly ever, bothered me. I began this blog with only  a little ambition and no mission beyond pleasing myself. I wanted to say, Hello World, I exist, but not much beyond that. I hoped, for a time, that some greater plan might be spawned if I kept on putting virtual pen to paper but no, niente, etc.

I’ve always said, to myself that is, that all those filler-inner posts about rhubarb cocktails or rude ladies in shops, or whatever, were simply a ploy to keep me going while I waited for a stroke of genius. I knew that if I stopped to think about what I was doing I would get The Fear and stop.

I have taken fright, that much is clear, but getting to the root of what exactly it is that has me petrified has taken weeks of navel gazing. I’m not proud of that, by the way. I’m acutely aware that people have real problems while I live remarkably close to spoilt bitch territory.

Nevertheless, the last few months have been one of those frustrating times in my life when I feel that I don’t know my own mind. It’s a feeling that I hate, a sort of doubt about my own sanity that makes me want to bang my head against something hard and sure, like a brick wall.

On one hand, I’m a total gobshite when it comes to handling criticism and have a paralysing fear of failure. Continuing to write something that’s not quite good enough seems to me like failing, and failing publicly. Calling a halt to writing because it’s difficult also feels like failure. Is that a Catch 22? I’m never certain. Either way, I’m running scared.

On the other hand, I feel as though I’ve just woken up to the insanity of baring my soul to the Whole Wide World. Writing is an addiction for me. It always has been. I’ve kept some form of diary for most of my life. Writing into a void comes easily to me and it has always been an outlet, a release, and oftentimes an unedited (and poorly punctuated, I know) stream of consciousness. I’m not much of a talker so it feels bloody brilliant to let the words out, to get to the end of a thought before fear takes over, to be myself. The joy, practically a miracle, of this blog has been people, you, you know who you are, writing back and saying, Hey, I feel like that too. I cannot overstate how much that has meant to me. That’s a connection that I rarely get in the real, speaking-words-out-loud, world.

The problem is that it feels so good that I have at times lost the run of myself. In chasing that buzz I have revealed too much and come close to worse. It would feel so good to lay every inch of me bare, just for the kick of it, the raucous, out-of-control glee of it, but I can’t, or I shouldn’t, and even if I did, what would I do then?

I think, only think, I’m not sure, that when I started writing this blog my habitual caution was outweighed by grief. Grief gave me enough anger to be brave. I let loose. And, for a while, a glorious while, I did not care one whit what anybody thought of me, or what, or how well, I wrote.

I’ve lost that shield. It has, quite suddenly, dawned on me that I’m not writing into a void anymore. There are too many real world people reading. I introduced myself to a teacher at a PT meeting a few weeks ago and then realised in horror that she knew me from the blog. That, I think, was the clincher. I can’t do this any more.

I want to keep writing something, ideally about books, but I have to stop writing about me. I haven’t figured out, yet, how to do that. I might try Goodreads, although it’s not a platform I’m mad about. I may start all over again in complete anonymity. I should probably spend some time on pelvic floor exercises, figurative and otherwise.

I might just read.

This, by the way, is how much a girl can read in 6 weeks away from social media:

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For the record, in one word each, from the top down: boring, horrible, riveting, charming, astounding, grim and magnificent. That last took as long to read as all the others put together but, by God, was it worth it.

As far as writing goes, for the moment, I’m going cold turkey.

And so, with much regret and doubt, and gratitude and even a little guilt, hopefully for a short while only…

…this is Sultanabun, signing off.

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40 thoughts on “Navel Gazing.

  1. I’m not sure what to say… bye for now? I’ve enjoyed your blog, I like your writing.
    I agree it’s hard to stay anonymous and the anonymity holds some appeal.
    I hope you feel better and find an outlet that works for you.
    Very best wishes… Kerrie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lynda,
    What a post! I understand fully, this sounds like me, This is only the second comment I’ve ever sent to a blog, let alone write one. ( set one up once but never posted) I too keep a journal to blurt in, …
    But your brilliantly written blog posts have enhanced my days, and my reading,
    Feel I’m losing a friend , sorry I didn’t comment before. I wish you well, and keep on journalling. Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘ Big magic’ might be worth a peruse

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Claire. “Big Magic” is on my list- I hear such good reports of it.
      You make me feel better when you say that you haven’t managed to publish a post. I feel I’m such a silly scaredy-cat. But is IS terrifying. I had my blog for two months before I hit publish and I was shaking like a leaf.
      Still, once I got in the habit, I LOVED it- it was such a glorious release of pent up words. And, the community here is SO kind and supportive. I couldn’t tell you how many days a lovely comment put a smile on my face. Those smiles have made me a nicer person to be around.
      Look, I’m not in a place to preach but, if you can, perhaps in total anonymity, give it a shot and see what happens.
      Wishing you well,
      Lynda.

      Like

  3. Oh, Lynda
    This post saddens me. I hope your hiatus from writing about your life experiences is very brief.
    I have been keeping away from WordPress almost deliberately since Linda’s (a.k.a. Pan) passing because it still doesn’t feel right to enjoy what we started together. In time, I will get over that feeling. Luckily, you are one of the four WordPress bloggers whose posts appear in my email.
    Not matter what your final personal decision is about your writing always know you have never written a story that didn’t inspire, make me laugh or just plain enjoyed!
    ❤️ Donna (a.k.a. MunchKin)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Donna, I feel extremely privileged to be one of those squirreling their way into your email! You were one of my very earliest followers and will continue to hold a special place in this bloggers heart. I can only imagine how difficult losing Linda must have been for you.
      Wishing you peace and happiness and wishing that we will both make our return in a blaze of glory,
      Lynda.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my, I am so sorry that you will not be on here any more, I so enjoyed your post, your writing, your garden. I hope you find whatever it is that you need, but know that your loved here in this community. XXkat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw Kat, my dear friend, I do consider you a friend after all the ups and downs we have shared, and after all the many, many times that you have gathered me up and pushed me forward.
      I’m sorry it has taken so long to reply but, somehow, for some reason I can’t fathom, even opening the wordpress App gives me the shakes.
      I miss writing and I miss my friends but I haven’t yet figured out how to get back on the horse. I will though, eventually, or die trying.
      I hope that all is well there in your part of the world and that we will be in touch again soon.
      With love,
      Lynda.
      (lyndaogorman@gmail.com)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope you manage to get on this horse again. I haven’t been visiting for very long but enjoyed every post. Your writing is exceptional and I shall miss it. I don’t mind if friends and family read my blog anymore – as long as they accept that I don’t sugar coat my life and that they may not always like what I have to say. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christina, There were days when I didn’t care and then there were terrified days when I gazed in horror at what I wrote on the carefree days. I’m working hard on being less risk averse!
      I very much appreciate your comments. L.

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  6. I’ve missed your writing, your wit and lovely ‘Cork Lynda’ take on life, so I was delighted to see a post from you. I totally understand what you say but I’m so sorry that Sultanabun is on pause. Your blog is the one that has had me laughing out loud, delighting in your words, and often moved me greatly. Your book reviews are fantastic and I love hearing about your life. But you must absolutely do what feels right. Come back soon. Sending love xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Sam, my best blogging buddy. I really don’t know what has got in to me. Or, more accurately, I have no idea what got in to me before that allowed me to do this blogging lark in the first place. Still hoping that this will pass off, like a fever,
      PS. Your garden is looking glorious these days.

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    1. Thanks Lou, and thanks for understanding. I’m still hoping the fear will pass but for today, even finally replying to comments is tough. Weird and weirder. Hope all is well in your corner of our county. L.

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  7. Sad to say goodbye Lynda, but I hope you feel happier for making it. And I hope you can get back to the writing that you enjoy when the time is right. Thank you for all of the lovely posts you have shared with us, I have honestly enjoyed every single one. Look after yourself, CJ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, CJ. Can I reveal now that, of all the bloggers I have read, you have the sharpest, cleanest writing style while remaining a warm and inviting tone. Stephen King advises that we read the work of writers whose style we admire and hope to emulate. For me, you are one of those writers. I say this now in all honesty, I have nothing to gain here and I’m absolutely not just trying to be nice.
      I thought that I might better employ the hours spent blogging by attempting (again) to write fiction but, alack and alas, imagination fails me. I don’t know whether you are similarly afflicted but, seriously, if you are not, if you have stories inside you, please, please, write them down and seek publication. You ARE good enough.
      If you are ever looking for a first reader, it would be my pleasure to oblige. My personal email is lyndaogorman@gmail.com
      Take care of you,
      L.

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  8. That is a shame as I enjoyed your posts very much. Myself I don’t really worry about divulging information about me or my inner workings or thoughts. If people don’t like it, then that’s a great case for a good old debate to clear the issues. And blogs by there nature are personal or they have to be strictly informative with the blogger hidden as a mere cypher of information – and sometimes if you feel strongly about something, that’s personal and hard to restrain the thoughts. Tolstoy – I have that book to read as I love the Russian authors. So wonderfully depressing. I put Shostakovich on to read them sometimes – lets go the whole hog. But your writing is full of humour – and if you find being too personal is difficult – be more factual. Blogging can be tiring – I see it like journalism – the editor IS screaming about deadlines and sometimes its not perfect as you have to get that post out or why bother. Take time out – regroup. Take care. Four leaf clover being sent over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Judi, for this wise advice. I know that you are absolutely right and I’m doing my best to get to that place again, or to find a way to define the limits of my writing. I will figure this out or die trying!

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  9. I’m very sorry to say goodbye to your lovely writing, I haven’t been following very long, but I did enjoy your posts and your point of view. I hope you find a way to keep writing, even if it is just for yourself.

    All the best for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sign off if you will, but remember to come back. I completely share your fear of exposure battling that of wanting to just say whatever I want and not care who might read it. My biggest fear is my employer and certain family members. I simply wish I didn’t give a shit. So thank you for this, for verbalizing what I think many of us feel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Kim, and thanks for understanding. If I had maintained my anonymity I would doubtless still be blogging. My biggest fears right now are in relation to my kids. I don’t want to mortify them and I want to be able to face the school principal without her knowing about my hormonal debacles, mental health worries or mouldy bathroom tile issues.
      I hope all is well in your world. Here’s to the day when none of us gives a shit.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmmm. I know that finger-wagging, witch of an inner critic…luckily she hasn’t stopped me publishing less-than-interesting, dubiously-constructed posts. And grief (for an animal!) also made me scream out loud on my blog…which is not what my blog is for! Like you, I’m not now bothered by numbers…I mostly write for myself. And you have, as Kim Gorman says, verbalised what many of us feel.

    I have only 2 criteria for the very few blogs I read…they should be well written and/or funny/uplifting. You are a very good writer…and I’m putting my money on you continuing to write…jx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Noooooo! I have missed you terribly, and was so excited to see a new post, only to have my hopes dashed. You must, of course, do what is right for you, but I want you to know (really know!) that your writing is brilliant. It’s authentic, funny, and interesting, and I will very much miss your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nooo! I enjoy reading your blog, I often think ‘hey, I feel like that, too’ and I’ll miss you.

    I’ve been thinking about writing an actual book, too (the guide to divorce, while a toe in some water, doesn’t really count) but I’m keenly aware that I’m not Tolstoy. And part of me thinks if I can’t be Tolstoy, I dont want to humiliate myself. It’s the same part that unhelpfully feels that if I can’t be Kate Moss I may as well be the size of a house.

    I hope you’ll let us know what you decide to do. Good luck with it whatever it is.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tolstoy bedamned, get on with it woman! I know you can do it. I thought that blogging might lead me to an idea for a book but no such luck. You, on the other hand, have the perfect combination of attitude and experience.
      I take my dieting inspiration from the magnificent Sophia Loren, “Everything I am I owe to spaghetti.’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha, thanks. I didn’t know I had attitude (though come to think of it it was a criticism levelled at me by my American dad as a child.). These days I am not sure what attitude to adopt as I no longer know who I am or what I think.
        Do let us all know (presuming GDPR lets you) what you do next, I’d love to see it and lend support x

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  14. I’ve missed you and I will miss you some more. You’re the person I come to for good writing and funny thoughts.
    I discovered that the key was to give no shits. The older I get, the less shits I give. I couldn’t have published anything otherwise. I do care, of course I do but also…. just say “fuck it” and leap.
    ps I loved Ready Player One. The movie sucked.
    I must read Rebecca.
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what’s funny- I never thought I was funny. That’s about the nicest thing to hear! Unless you mean funny peculiar, although mind you, I would take that as a compliment too. Thank you for all the stitchy inspiration and colour-joy! Lynda. x
      PS. Trying my best to give no shits but, sigh, I’m not good at it.

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      1. Haha and as an illustration (if one were needed) of how hard I find it to give no shits, what I was thinking, with a pedant’s sigh, was ‘*fewer* shits’.
        In the other hand, I have just spent an unconscionable amount of money on my first ever holiday all alone, the title of the retreat is ‘fuck it’. So I’m trying. (By making no effort at all but throwing money at the problem…)

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  15. Oh, that makes me feel sad, since yours were among the book reviews I really looked forward to reading, so I hope you do decide to put them into words again some day. Along with your beautiful visuals, they made your updates something to look forward to. I do understand what you mean about the Catch 22 though, and temporary writer’s block, and fear. Thanks for the great thoughts, and I hope you come back.

    Liked by 1 person

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